Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Philippians 4:4 4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Paul uses the word rejoice nine times in the book of Philippians. It is obviously an important point of emphasis. The Philippian people are poor and persecuted. Paul is in prison. Praise is essential. But how can we be filled with joy when the circumstances of life stink?
Paul says to rejoice in the Lord, not in the circumstances of life. The key to doing this is found in our knowledge of God, not in our emotional stability. Joy is not an emotional response to good things – that’s called happiness. Joy is the deep abiding confidence we have in a God who is always at work for His good and His glory, and He will not fail. The ability to rejoice even when times are tough is seated in one’s understanding of God’s character and consistency. The more we know about the Lord, the more we can rejoice in Him in spite of what is going on around us.
In his classic book on the attributes of God, The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer wrote,
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.
For this reason, the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.
Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, “What comes into your mind when you think about God?” we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man. (Reprint; New York: Harper & Row, 1975, 9)
What comes into your mind when you think of God? Is He Lord of all to you? Are you filled with confidence in His character? Does trust is His promises fill you with peace? Does knowledge of His love for you settle the issues of meaning and purpose in your heart? Then rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Nothing in this life can change Him – don’t let it change you!